chapter  5
1 Pages

Discussion and Conclusions

While clearly not representing a fundamental reorganization of state territoriality, the

policy spaces occupied by European territorial cooperation initiatives such as the INTER-

REG programmes and the macro-regional strategies indicate some spatial rescaling. More

generally, European cohesion policy has led to various governance shifts within nation-

states in order to administer regional funding from Europe (see, e.g. Hooghe & Marks,

1996). This has in some cases led to the weakening or fragmentation of national powers

and capacity for policy coordination. Because of their cooperative nature, it cannot realis-

tically be expected that European macro-regional strategies are replacing other scales of

intervention. After all, the actions set out in the macro-regional strategies are based on

non-statutory cooperation, and member states are pretty much free to choose whether or

not to participate in different actions. Nevertheless, these strategies are supplementing

and perhaps even supplanting other existing policy spaces (Metzger & Schmitt, 2012).

As Luukkonen and Moilanen (2012, p. 497) recognize, regional actors often feel

obliged to operate in these new policy spaces in order to extend their networks, secure

resources and “stay on the map of European spatial policies” but are on the other hand

“still mostly bound to the territorial realities of the nationally determined administrative

units and their functions”. The appeal of the actions and soft spaces in macro-regional

strategies is undoubtedly related to the ability to suit a range of political agendas across

different EU member states, whether policy integration and synergy, austerity (i.e. no

additional funding), economic growth, private-sector involvement or development assist-

ance (i.e. providing support for poorer neighbours).